The Purpose of Righteous Living

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:11-13 

I like how Paul (the author of the book of Ephesians) says “therefore” when saying to put on the armor of God. He’s saying that because there is a battle going on, we NEED to put on the whole armor of God. He’s not saying to do it simply because it’s how God desires for us to live, but he is saying it is necessary based on the situation.

Many times, when people look at what it means to live a life of righteousness, they choose not to do so because it seems like a difficult standard to live by.

But if we understand the purpose or righteousness, we’ll understand it’s for our own good and it’s not God putting restrictions on us. In describing righteousness, Paul chooses to use the breastplate.

Ephesians 614 … with the breastplate of righteousness in place”

The purpose of a breastplate is for protection in a battle, and likewise living a life of righteousness is for our own protection. We go to battle every day whether we like it or not.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Who do you think is going to be in a better position for a battle? The one who goes in with no gear and is unaware of what’s going on? Or the one who is suited up and knows there’s a battle going on? Living a life of righteousness is not an easy thing to do. But we have the Holy Spirit to help us. As the Holy Spirit works on the inside of us, we become more yielded and submitted to the Holy Spirit, and righteousness becomes a  lifestyle instead of something we have to strive for.

I see the Holy Spirit as an activation for the armor of God. In a superhero movie, a superhero can have their suit on but have no power. They might need to press a button or do something to activate the power of the suit. If we try to put on the whole armor of God, without God himself, we’re wearing a suit with no power. Living a life of righteousness takes God himself, and he has given us the Holy Spirit to help.  Also, it turns out living out a life with God is actually an incredibly fun and life-transforming experience.

Learning to live a life of righteousness and becoming more Christ-like is a never-ending process, but it’s one that’s worth going through. The spiritual battle continues regardless of our choice to be submitted to the Holy Spirit or not. It is important we have the right gear for the battles we will face in life. The good news is that with God, we’re fighting a rigged war.

 

My Experience As A Young Black Female In The Workplace

I’ve spent the past 6 months working at a small consulting company. Like really small. It’s an awesome place to work, especially compared to what I’ve heard about other companies.  I’m the youngest person, the only black female consultant, and the only one with my job title (small company)-all the other consultants are in more senior roles. My company is quite unique and inclusive. I definitely work with a great group of people! I really have no reason to feel left out or awkward but listen to the story I’m about to tell you. Or read it. Whatever.

We had an important meeting today with about 75% of the company. I was looking for opportunities to contribute to the conversation, but I found myself scared to do so. Why? The voices in my head. (Stick with me, I’m not crazy!). Throughout the meeting there was a conversation going on in my head. It went something like this:

You’re young. What do you have to say that they don’t know? You’re black. Don’t say something stupid that will make black people look stupid. You’re a woman. Sit back.

Then the voice of Sheryl Sandberg joins the conversation and she tells me to lean in and speak up! My boss’ voice pops in as well (from a conversation a while back) and he tells me he’s happy to have the younger generation in the office, and we make valuable contributions. I hear the male black consultant say something (out loud, not in my head this time 😊), who also happens to be fairly new. Yes, he’s older and has more work experience, but his contribution was encouraging to me.

But what’s a conversation in head without my own voice? So the voice of Adebosoye (that’s me in case you’re not following this craziness) chimes in and says “Yes, you’re a young, black female but you’re not solely defined by your age, race, and gender. You’re you. The company saw something when they hired YOU.” Or something like that.

So I spoke up.

My first contribution was simply supporting someone else’s point. My second contribution was bringing up an idea that got shot down. But even though it got shot down, something I said drove the next part of the conversation. It didn’t feel good to get shot down, but it did feel good to step out of the box I was confining myself too.

When I first started my job I had a hard time settling down. I don’t exactly know why, but I was mildly depressed, anxious, and had trouble sleeping. I think a part of it was the enemy trying to come for your girl because you know I prayed fasted to get this job! Another part of it was me comparing myself to others, setting unrealistic expectations for myself, and being acutely aware of my differences. I compared myself to my senior colleagues. Even though they all have more work experience than I do, I was expecting myself to be just as good as them. I was so keenly aware about being a young black female that I made myself feel unnecessarily awkward compared to my slightly older white male colleagues. There were days some of the guys would ask me if I wanted to go with them to Chick-fil-A (I live in the south y’all) and I’d say no. Although I knew they were asking out of courtesy, I said no because of my age, race, and gender. Yes, being a young black female in my workplace separates me, but there are times I’ve definitely separated myself.

I’ve overcome the anxiety, depression, and insomnia these days. I’m also good acquaintances with my colleagues. I would totally take up a Chick-fil-A invite. But I haven’t quite dealt with the voices in my head. I constantly over analyze my work and tell myself I’m stupid, and doing a terrible job, even though I’ve been told the opposite. There are many time I still see myself negatively as a young black female as I did in the meeting today.

But I’m learning to fight the voices back. I’m overcoming the negative self-talk by telling myself I’m meticulously created by God and I have a purpose and calling that goes beyond my job.  He loves me and what He has to say about me is what I live by. I tell myself that my worth isn’t tied to my job but who I am in Christ. God sees me as more than my race, age, and gender. I should too.

The workplace separates young people, black people, and women. But there are times we might get the narrative so ingrained in us that we separate ourselves. We shouldn’t get so caught up in systemic treatment that we limit ourselves in spaces we’re not limited. We shouldn’t get so caught up in how we see ourselves that we forget how God sees us. There definitely needs to be systemic change to increase representation in the work place, but we also have power to change the narrative where were at.

God, If I’m Being Honest… (An Open Letter)

God,

This is my honest letter to you.

I know you’re all knowing and ever present, but there is a part of me that thinks I know better than you. A part of me thinks I can plan and  execute my life better than you can. I know, it’s crazy. But this is my honest letter. Sometimes you take too long and I prefer to take matters into my own hands and make things happen myself. I know what you’ve called me to do so I made plans to fund the calling on my life and started a couple business ventures without you. I want to live out your purpose for my life, but your girl doesn’t want to be broke doing so. Your girl has plans of being wealthy. So I think it’s a good idea to  pursue wealth first, then go ahead and do what you’ve called me to do. That way everything you’ve called me to do becomes optional and I’ve still got wealth. Don’t worry, I plan on helping people and starting non-profit organizations with my wealth. God if I’m being honest, I’m grateful you saved me, your love for me is amazing, your joy in my life is unshakable, your peace really does pass understanding, I want you at the center of my life, but the thing is, I don’t want to depend on you. I’m just being honest.

But here’s what I’ve discovered. Living a life dependent on you is actually the sweetest thing. I don’t know what you did to me in the last week of January (Yes, your girl only learned to surrender a whole 6 weeks ago – and still learning) but you came in and made surrender my heart’s posture.

One question someone asked changed it all. “What would your life look like if it was God’s plan for your life and not your plan?” 

And it was like every song, scripture, and sermon I encountered the month after was about surrender, obedience, and doing what you want. This series especially.

I’ve discovered when I try to do it on my own, I mess it up. Apparently, you fund your ideas and don’t really need my fundraising business campaigns. What I discovered is that I can still get the business, still get the wealth, but your timing, your plan, and your way is so much better.

But if I’m being honest, what I want more than what I want, is what you want. God, I want a life dependent on you no matter what that looks like. I want you to get the glory out of my life. I want my life to leave a track record of miracles, a track record of your power, your grace, and your hand on my life. I want it be so evident God was here. Let people look at my life and be forced to say, only God did that. God come in and have your way. When I wrote my most recent blog post about setting goals for the year, I was setting goals without you.

Well God, I’m here to say I’m sorry. Take my goals, my plans, my ideas, my selfish ambitions and make them yours. I drop every plan that was made without you, and I say Yahweh, have your way. This life is yours.

Sincerely your daughter,

Adebosoye – The crown has returned to the throne 

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

 

Goal Setting In 2018!

It’s that time of year again. The time when we look forward to the coming year and resolve to make it better than the last.  

It is goal setting time!

All too often, January comes around and we get excited about making lasting change in our lives. But for some reason, many of us never quite see our goals through to the end of the year.

That needs to change and it starts with how we think about our goals.  

Habukkak 2:2 says ” And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”  

We need to write out and clearly define our goals. We should look at and recite our goals daily and refine them weekly or monthly to adjust to changing circumstances. Refining your goals on the first of every month is a good way to get started.

We also need to make sure we are frequently praying over our goals. We need to speak the word over our lives and all that God has for us to accomplish in this world.

We need to use the power of our mouths in prayer and proclamation to bring a manifestation of our goals this year.

God desires for us to live out a life that brings glory to his name. We should work towards becoming better versions of ourselves, and helping others become better. We should use the gifts God has given us to be all that we can be, and help meet the needs of those around us. We need to live a life on purpose and be intentional about the decisions we make.

When your goals are clearly defined, and they are in alignment with the word of God, there is nothing that can hold you back! Be intentional!

Living A Life Of Gratitude

Life can be tough sometimes. There is always something to complain about. But you know what? There is always something to be grateful for. Which one will you choose to focus on?

While my mom was visiting recently, there was a day we were out running errands. We stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things. I remember being a little annoyed at how long she was taking to pick out a couple items. I was hungry and wanted to go home and eat. I was getting frustrated, but then I stopped and told myself to be grateful. So I said to myself,  “I’m grateful I have a mom. I’m grateful I have an awesome mom who cares about me. I’m grateful I get to see my mom so frequently. I’m grateful I have a grocery store to shop in. I’m grateful I have a car to drive home. I’m grateful I have a home. I’m grateful I have food to eat at home.” I wasn’t annoyed for much longer. It’s funny how being grateful can shift your view of your situation.

Of course, the situation isn’t always so simple. Sometimes life hits you really hard and it’s tough to find something to be grateful for. I want to encourage you to find something to hold on to no matter how difficult life is. No matter how hard it is, no matter what you’re struggling with, you can always find something to be grateful for.

What you think is a struggle can actually be a blessing if you look at it from a different perspective.

The perspective of gratitude.

How Are You Viewing Your Life Journey?

Contentment. What does it mean to be content?

The dictionary definition says, “ the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.”

I like the last part; ease of mind.

Earlier in the year, I was praying for a new job.  It took a while, but I finally got the job I had been praying for. But lately, I’ve been dissatisfied. I find myself desperate for the weekends, and when the weekend comes I’m discontent because I know where I have to be on Monday. The funny part is I actually like my job, but I also know I want more in my life.  But what I’ve discovered about myself is that I’m hardly at ease, and I’m always eager to get on to the next thing. I hardly take the time to enjoy my current situation, and really take in where I am. Whenever I’m giving a presentation, or talking to a group of people, I’m always told that I talk really fast. I honestly think I talk so fast because I want to get whatever I’m doing over with. I always want what’s next which has caused a lot of dissatisfaction in my life and puts my mind in a whirlwind.

But ease of mind.

I want that for my life.

I want to be content where I currently am. Not that I don’t want more for my life, but I want to experience every part of my life. I don’t want to reach the end of my life and realize that I was constantly chasing the next thing,  and never actually enjoyed the journey of life itself.

So how am I going to work on being content? By working on my thoughts!

For me,  I know my thoughts are my greatest enemy when it comes to experiencing contentment in my life. But I also know they can be my greatest strength. So from now on, I’m going to be all about 2 Corinthians 10:5

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Every thought that’s not letting my mind be at ease is getting snatched from my mind and coming under submission to the word of God! The thoughts that tell me it’s my current situation that’s not making me happy, and I’ll be happier in the next stage of life. The thoughts that tell me I’m not doing a good job during this stage of my life. These thoughts and more will be replaced with thoughts that are obedient to Christ. 

I know God has so much purposed for us and I know he’s going to do so much in all of our lives. But every season of life has a purpose. We shouldn’t be discontent, just because we’re not where we want to be yet! 

Father, I thank you for who you are. I thank you for how far you’ve brought me in my life, and I thank you for where you’re taking me. Please help me to be content with where I am now while being expectant about my future! Thank you Lord!

Contentment is ours!

Who’s in your crew?

Who are you surrounding yourself with?

Who are your friends?

Who are you letting speak into your life?

Are they people pushing you forward or holding you back?

Are they people who will encourage you in your purpose or are they pulling you down?

Are they people that are keeping you stagnant or are they driving you forward?

Who are you letting influence your destiny?

It is so important that we are aware of the people that we are surrounding ourselves with.

It is important that we are intentional about the relationships we have with other people. It’s very easy to slip into a routine and let the people who end up around us just be the people who end up being around us. But when you know that your life has purpose, and you know that purpose needs to be fulfilled, you can’t just let anyone who shows up in your life have influence in it. We have to make sure the people we surround ourselves with are people who are encouraging us to live out our purpose. We want people that will encourage us to keep going when we’re tired. We want people that aren’t envious of us but are cheering us on. We want people that are adamant about living out their purpose as well.

We all have ideas about where we want to be at a certain point in our lives. But the next stage of our lives is dependent on the decisions we are making during this stage. The decisions we make depend on how we think and the words that we speak. Who are you letting influence those thoughts and words?

When times are hard, are the people around you encouraging you in the word? Are you building each other up?  Or after you tell them about what you know God is going to do in you and through you, they shut you down and tell you it’s not possible? Are the people around you building your faith?

 I always put my life in this perspective. When I’m 80 years old and looking back on my life, what do I want it to look like? 

I know I want to live a life where I fulfilled the purpose that God had for me in every season of my life. I want to look back and know that I poured out everything I had and know that I was a good steward of the time and the resources I was given.

There’s so much that goes into fulfilling purpose, (especially making sure that God’s voice is the most important one in our lives!)  but one important aspect has to do with the company we keep.  God has a purpose for everyone single one of our lives. We should all desire to be used by God for every purpose he has for us in every season. Let’s make sure we’re surrounding ourselves with people that will encourage us to maximize our potential and walk in our purpose!

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20